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There seems to be this misconception, out there in diver land, of what advanced is all about. Advanced training sounds like it is a difficult course and you need to have more experience and be more confident before you try to take it on. Nothing could be further from the truth. I want to discuss it and explain what it actually is in hopes of dispelling some myths about it.
"Advanced Training" It sound like something that only Navy Seals do. That you need to be a super diver to tackle it. This is simply not true. I think the course should be call "More Experience Training" instead of Advanced Training. The course is basically designed to give you more experience and to "sharpen" the skills that you were taught in the Basic Scuba Diver course. Another way to put it is, "we teach all the stuff that we didn't have time to teach in the basic course".
The first dive is simply Buoyancy Control. The first thing that I do is adjust your weight belt so that you have the proper amount of weight. Typically, I tend to slightly overweight beginners. And rightly so, you need a little more weight when you first start. After that, your breathing is more controlled and your stress level has come down a bit. One cannot achieve neutral buoyancy with proper trim unless the weight belt has the proper amount of weight.
The second thing that we do is, descend to 60 feet and learn about hovering, i.e. neutral buoyancy. Then we enjoy the rest of our air and go diving, practicing your newfound buoyancy. After the dive we discuss it and I make suggestions as to the best course of action.
Navigation is next. This seems to be a fear of most of you. Navigation is a skill that needs to be learned early in your diving career. It is probably the most important skill you will learn. We'll discuss the compass in greater detail than we did in the basic course. You will learn how to read it and how to use it as a tool. Once you've learned how to use it, you'll always come up right next to the boat. No more surface swimming for 300 yards. Its as easy as you are willing to let it be.
The next three dives can be done in any order. The Night Dive: this dive only requires that you dive at night. Not too difficult to accomplish this one.
The Deep dive: this dive only requires that you dive to a depth beyond 80 feet. The purpose of the dive is to inform you of the added risks of diving deep: Nitrogen Narcosis, slower ascents, safety decompression stop and the like. Don't worry, you'll be well taken care of. We do this dive in a very controlled manner. We descend on the anchor rope, with two to five very experienced divers placed strategically placed throughout the dive that have their individual tasks to keep everyone safe on the dive. It's a fun experience.
The Dive Leader dive: this dive requires that you lead other divers, usually experienced divers. We do this to keep the dive safe. The experienced divers can correct errors before they become problems. By leading I mean, plan the dive, Navigate the dive, and try to ensure that your followers are having a good time, and above all, keep them safe.
That's it, you're an Advanced Diver! Now you'll want to practice your newfound skills every time you dive.
Some folks have said that they feel like they are in the way or somehow holding an experienced diver back, not wanting to "ruin" the helper's dive trip. Well, this is simply not the case. The experienced divers and the helpers all remember what they went through to get where they are and they all know how easy it is once you've learned just a few simple skills. They are more than happy to help. A true diver will share his/her knowledge and experiences with other newer divers freely. It's sort of a sharing that brings happiness to all involved. That's what our group, our dive trips, and our Love of diving is all about.
Dive safe and dive with knowledge.
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